"...Kavanagh offers us a dazzling vision of a reality hanging both in an undefined space and time,
in balance between the real and the imaginary."
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A Harbour Town since the beginning manifests itself a mysterious and fascinating work, a deeply involving journey into the everyday life of some inhabitants of a small costal town.
A boy looks after the house, sweeps the yard, walks around the city; two unknown individuals, presumably hunters, go into the forest armed with rifles; an apparently bizarre and enigmatic man (Rouzbeh Rashidi) carefully is examining the large living room of a building as if he wants to catch the profound essence of the reality that surrounds him; another man is going all over the city apparently looking for something or someone; a girl is speaking to a friend in a house from where she seems unable to get out.
The representation never uses words and when the characters speak we don’t know what they say. Kavanagh cinema is indeed very hermetic, made by glances, unresolved questions, pure contemplation. It’s a cinema that is experienced with the soul rather than the sight. So even the real inhabitants identity appears shrouded in mystery: are they alive or just abstract appearances, reminiscences of the old city inhabitants? In fact they appear to be very connected to the place, as if they were its projections and not real people.
The coastal city is at the end the engine that makes everything move, the eternal source from which individuals emerge immanent to a place that transcends them. Existing forever is the fate of the city; it will keep forever creating memories with human appearances. The movie setting makes up for the lack of character dialogues: on the background of the general sterility of their daily mysterious rituals, the intrinsic nature of the place, vibrates and resonates with the vegetation, the water, the wind, the roar of the rain, the natural sun light and the artificial light of the street lamps.
From the previous considerations it turns out that Kavanagh doesn’t want to tell a story about these shady characters; he makes us live an intense experience, by putting us in the mysterious and dark atmosphere that permeates the entire city, and the souls who leave there as well. This way Kavanagh offers us a dazzling vision of a reality hanging both in an undefined space and time, in balance between the real and the imaginary. The title itself, “A Harbour Town”, evokes a condition not bound to a specific place or people, so that the reality is an expression of all humanity and not only of a single part of it.